Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Apple Cider, Interrupted

I get excited over ingredients. From the nape of an ancho chile to a side of beef hanging in the locker in Mount Airy. If it's good and tasty, it's something I can get excited about.

Over the weekend, I picked up a couple gallons of apple cider from Reid Orchards. They were very excited about this weeks' blend because so many of their apples were ripe and ready to go. Until that point, I hadn't even thought that apple cider could be a thoughtful blend of apples to create a whole, but now I knew better.

I grabbed a gallon and brought it to my niece's birthday party in Virginia and we ended up drinking the entire gallon - so much for protecting The Spro's inventory...

As I was tasting the cider, it inspired me to play with a simple recipe of slightly warmed cider, a single shot of Hines espresso, topped with a layer of half & half foam. Light, fruity, complex and creamy. A seasonal drink for the fall. A drink I thought might be nice for the menu at Woodberry Kitchen (if they'll have it).

The only problem is that I don't have a name for it.


James Hoffmann said...

Interesting - does the apple acidity not screw with the shot or does the half and half rescue it all.

For some reason I'd be curious to sneak a little tequila into this too, maybe it would add a pleasing spice note.

onocoffee said...


With the Hines 'spro the acidity of the cider is complemented. It's also very sweet which adds balance to the espresso.

However, last night at Woodberry Kitchen, I had their barista make the drink (since they have the same cider) using Counter Culture's Aficionado. The ratio was were different using a double shot instead of a single (they only have bottomless portafilters) and the acidity was more pronounced when the foam was laid on top of the drink. In another variant, the barista poured the half & half a la macchiato which smoothed out the acidity and brought greater balance to the beverage.

It was an interesting way to highlight how different espresso blends perform in a drink. With the Hines, it was delicate and sweet, the Aficionado created a more acidic beverage that needed the cream to smoothen it out.

I also tried the drink using a house made coffee liquer using a technique I picked up in Japan (1 pound press ground coffee steeped in 750ml white Bacardi for four weeks). Used the Hines to make the liquor and the resulting drink was dramatically sweet with a balance of coffee notes to apple.